Their brain is wired differentlyFriday, August 23, 2013 by: Kate AdamsReaction from members of the Autism community and the general public has been swift after a family in Newcastle Ontario received an anonymous letter from someone in the neighbourhood stating that they move or have the autistic 13-year-old boy euthanized.
Locally BayToday heard from many readers outraged by the cruel and callous action of one person. Two profound reactions stood out, one from a young man in the city living with Autism and the other from a mother raising two children with Autism. With their permission we are able to share them with our readers:
To Max’s Family
After reading the letter that was sent to you this week on Facebook, I was ridden with feelings of empathy and sadness, because I too am a mother of children with Autism.
I too have a son named Max, and a daughter named Robyn that fits many of the descriptions of your son. I am so sorry that you were the target of such hatred and ignorance.
As families of children as different as ours, we struggle to fit in, worry about inconveniencing people, wonder about what people are really thinking about our children.
Do they see all the wonderful qualities they possess, in spite of their odd and sometimes disturbing behaviour? Do they know the countless hours and sleepless nights that are required to care for this child? The sacrifices our typical children make on a daily basis because they were born into a family that is ruled by the laws of Autism? But most of all the longing that we have as parents to see our children accepted by society in a kind and compassionate way.
This letter was disturbing that anyone could use such language about anyone’s child, autism or not. But having children with Autism, I know this would have hit you in your most vulnerable place, and that is why it is especially cruel. I am so fortunate to say that in my own experience I have been met with compassion and understanding for my children. I have experienced the odd uncomfortable moment when my daughter is having behaviour in public, but I have also witnessed how she can make the grumpiest old man light up with her funny sounds and her flapping hands! The mixed blessing that I am sure you are aware of as Max’s mother, is that you must be the one to shoulder the pain, for he, like my daughter is blissfully unaware and protected by his disconcert for other people’s opinion of him. (With the exception of his loved ones).
You can also take comfort in the fact that Max has affected millions in the most important way he can, by being himself and forcing the world to pick which side of the fence they sit on. Do they support Autism Awareness and families struggling through these issues or do they turn their heads at those who feel justified to judge what is different. I am so sorry that this came at such a cost to your family. I hope that the healing begins for you, in your backyard with Max while he throws his ball and shrieks with joy! Meanwhile we will be up north in our own backyard, doing the same with our pom poms! (Robyn’s favorite)
From a very similar and empathetic mother
Their brain is wired differently
“Being someone who has autism, I have never read something as hateful as I read and related to the subject.
A few days ago, a mother with a son who has severe autism received a letter from a neighbor which said that having her "animal" son around the neighborhood is an annoying nuisance and that the kid should be euthanized.
The letter written was offensive, rude and completely ignorant.
People with severe autism with "odd behavior" do certain things because they can't help themselves. Their brain is wired differently than someone without it.
This kid wasn't doing anything wrong, he was just playing outside. This woman noticed that he was different and saw how he acted, and saw it as an insult to see that this kid was living in "her" neighborhood. I know there are awful people all over the world, but Jesus. This pissed me off."